Betsy Byars makes every word count. I chose it for my 50 State Reading Challenge - it's set in Kentucky.
From the cover:
Amen McBee is exceptionally bright - she gobbles up words the way other children gobble up sweets. She's also restless. It's the summer of 1899, and everything seems to be changing - everything except the tranquil world of The Willows, her family's home. Yet for Amen and her four older sisters - Abigail, Augusta and the Bella twins, Arabella and Annabella - change is much nearer than they think.